Health through Horticulture: Using Plants for Therapeutic Outcomes

I.     Course Prefix/Number: HTC 101

       Course Name: Health through Horticulture: Using Plants for Therapeutic Outcomes

       Credits: 4 (3 lecture; 2 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

Program admission and completion of HTC 100 or consent of instructor or program approved equivalent; concurrent enrollment in HTC 110.

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

This is an introductory course designed to provide the student with basic knowledge of using plants in a therapeutic way. In addition, the history, current issues, and basic techniques of the profession will be addressed. During the required days on-site at the Chicago Botanic Garden, students will tour examples of therapeutic gardens, experience some HT sessions with a variety of clients and learn to assess and establish goals. Students taking this course are assumed to have acquired basic horticulture knowledge comparable to that covered in Horticulture 100: Introduction to Horticulture for Horticultural Therapists.

IV.   Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Articulate the history and efficacy of horticultural therapy.
  2. Describe the impact of horticultural therapy as a societal trend.
  3. Identify the personal and professional characteristics/resources that will foster success as a horticultural therapist, team member, and administrator.
  4. List and evaluate the critical issues that horticultural therapists consider when planning programs, activities, and site design.
  5. Define Problem Based Learning (PBL) and provide evidence for its effectiveness in Horticultural Therapy planning.
  6. Select plants that will support the goals and activities of the program and its spaces.
  7. Plan program content (activities, curriculum, materials, timelines) to meet goals and to match participant abilities and interests.
  8. Execute program activities for mock participant groups, adapting activities as audience profile requires.
  9. Create methods to evaluate the effectiveness of activities, programs, and spaces.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

A detailed course outline will be provided on the first of class.

VII.  Methods of Instruction

  1. Student-directed research required to complete assignments with guidance by instructor and support.
  2. The lab activities are conducted at the Chicago Botanic Garden and nearby health care facilities with student participation in residential activities and group discussions.
  3. Instructor and peer evaluations and critiques of projects.

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

  1. Complete the readings, research and assignments (includes weekly discussions, written reports, etc.) required in this course.
  2. Completion of all assigned readings and materials.
  3. Submission of written assignments.
  4. Active participation by students in class discussions and activities.
  5. Participation in on-site experience at Chicago Botanic Garden and nearby health care facilities.
  6. Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

  1. Required texts:
    Second Edition: Horticultural Therapy Methods: Connecting People and Plants in HealthCare, Human Services, and Therapeutic Programs by Rebecca L. Haller and Christine L Capra.
    Johanna Leos, HTM; Kelly Nelson, HTR; and Gene Rothert, HTR, Health through Horticulture:  A Guide for using the Indoor Garden for Therapeutic Outcomes, 2008, Chicago Botanic Garden
    Sharon P. Simpson and Martha C. Straus, Horticulture as Therapy:  Principles and Practices, 1998, Haworth Press.
  2. Selected websites

  3. Selected additional reading materials
  4. Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton’s Schedule of Classes.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

  1. Written assignments
  2. Self-directed learning projects
  3. Written assignments and papers may include:

    Paper – History and Efficacy of HT
    Interview and Paper – HT Professional
    Proposal – Letter of Introduction
    Paper – Problem Based Learning
    Adaptive Tool Planting Activity
    Design Charrette
    Needs Analysis – SP Forms/Proposals
    Treatment Goals, Delivery, Assessment

  4. Grading Scale:
    90-100 = A
    80-89 = B
    70-79 = C
    Below 70 = F

XI.   Other Course Information

  1. Attendance is mandatory at all scheduled discussions, and assignments must be submitted as scheduled.
  2. There will be no make-ups of assignments. Late homework assignments will not be accepted.
  3. Correct grammar and spelling is required on all written assignments.
  4. Students guilty of plagiarism/cheating are subject to dismissal from the program and/or disciplinary action under the Student Code of Conduct.

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.